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Financed in part by Catholic organisations in the States, this was apparently made under Church auspices, nearly ten years after the death of the Salvadorean archbishop it commemorates. One wonders, however, whether the Vatican is quite as fond of these turbulent priests when they're alive. Certainly the screenplay dramatises the intolerable position of a passionate priest in El Salvador: mistrusted as an agent of the state by the guerillas, menaced by the army for his championship of human rights, Romero (Julia), initially selected as a soft, safe candidate for archbishop, surprised everyone by speaking out against violence on both sides. Certain scenes seem almost too heroic, but overall this treatment has a ring of truth; horrendous events occur, but there's no lewd lingering over the details of death. Though the slightly ponderous script jars in the early scenes (leaden exposition of political verities, characterisation by numbers), the bulk of the film works up a considerable emotional charge, with doe-eyed Julia attaining a mythic simplicity.

Release details

Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Duigan
Screenwriter: John Sacret Young
Cast: Raúl Julia
Richard Jordan
Ana Alicia
Eddie Vélez
Alejandro Bracho
Tony Plana
Harold Gould
Claudio Brook
Martin Lasalle
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